If you’re wondering whether tiger sharks attack people and if they are aggressive to humans, this article will answer your questions. Your reason for asking questions about tiger sharks may be because you live where sharks are found off the beach in places like Miami Beach, or because you’d like to scuba dive with tiger sharks. Which is why it’s important to know whether tiger sharks are aggressive to humans and if they attack people.
Tiger sharks can be aggressive to humans, even when non provoked, and have attacked over 130 people, which resulted in 34 unprovoked fatalities. Tiger sharks are also aggressive hunters in the wild and can often be found hunting in the shallows off beaches in Florida.
Please read to the end of this article to discover which other sharks you need to be careful with when scuba diving with sharks.
But before you do, please take a watch of this first video of a tiger shark in the waters off Miami Beach, Florida. Notice how close it comes to the people in the water, but it isn’t interested in attacking them, as it’s looking for prey it usually eats instead.
Context to tiger shark aggression vs human aggressive behaviour
Before I continue with my article about whether tiger sharks are aggressive, I wanted to explain a misconception people have about animals and aggressive behaviour, especially when it comes to sharks like the tiger shark.
Many people humanise the behaviour of aggression in animals, as if it is somehow bad. Aggression is generally not an acceptable behaviour between fellow humans, and is quite rightly perceived in a negative way, and to make things worse, humans have even invented this bizarre behaviour of passive aggression too.
If you now turn to look at animal behaviour, which in this context is tiger shark aggression, you need to step back in order to understand why a tiger shark needs to be aggressive.
As humans, we have lost that link with nature and the need to hunt to survive, but wild animals have to hunt in order to survive. People are able to go to local stores to buy groceries to eat at home, or can visit the local takeaway or can eat out at a restaurant. Whereas animals in the wild don’t have any of these luxuries.
As a result, animals that are carnivores, which includes tiger sharks, have retained the necessity to hunt and kill other animals in order to survive. Hunting is correctly perceived as aggressive behaviour (which is even the case when humans go hunting), but creatures such as tiger sharks have to hunt aggressively in terms of speed and ferocity, otherwise they simply would never eat.
However, it is sometimes unfortunate that humans get in the way of the feeding habits of tiger sharks. People should always bear in mind that it is humans who are visiting where sharks live, not the other way around.
In respect of visiting where animals live, this is no different to visiting an African savanna. You would still need to be careful when walking near a pride of lions, especially hungry lions, which like sharks are also very aggressive carnivorous hunters.
But I’d also argue that all animals that are carnivores are aggressive. But also, it’s not just carnivores that are aggressive in the wild, as herbivores also need to be aggressive for survival. For example, one of the most dangerous herbivores in Africa is the hippopotamus.
Do tiger sharks attack humans?
Tiger sharks do not attack people as a rule, as humans are not their normal prey, but instead tiger sharks will aggressively hunt down other sharks, turtles, birds, rays, tarpon, smaller fish, octopuses, squid and crustaceans.
The sad thing is that more tiger sharks are killed by humans for their fins than tigers sharks kill people, but thankfully these sharks are not yet on the endangered list.
You may want to read to the end and watch the last video in this article, which shows a tiger shark attempting to attack a turtle, which ends up being saved by two fishermen.
Can a tiger shark kill a human?
There is no doubt that a tiger shark can and do kill humans, especially when you consider the size of tiger sharks, which can grow to 4.6 metres (15 feet) in length. But even if a tiger shark’s intention is not to eat the person, and is only making an exploratory bite, tiger shark bites can of themselves be fatal if the person has an artery severed when bitten.
Has a tiger shark ever killed anyone?
Unfortunately tiger sharks have killed people. There has been a total of 131 confirmed unprovoked attacks on humans by tiger sharks around the world, 34 of which have proved fatal. This number of fatal unprovoked shark attacks is second to 52 fatal attacks by great white sharks.
Are Tiger Sharks aggressive towards humans?
Tiger sharks are known to be aggressive towards humans and tiger sharks are second only to great white sharks for reported attacks on people. Tiger sharks are very curious sharks and can be extremely bold around surfers, swimmers and even scuba divers.
Are tiger sharks friendly?
Tiger sharks are not particularly friendly to humans and tend to be aggressive instead. Tiger sharks are bold creatures, which is highlighted at the Tiger Beach dive (see video below).
But you may like to read this article about whether tiger sharks like to be petted like a dog. In the article, I share what I consider to be an amazing video of a tiger shark looking for affection, just like a dog. It’s truly incredible.
Bu also, to see just how bold and aggressive tiger sharks can be, watch this video on Tiger Beach in the Bahamas.
How aggressive are tiger sharks?
Tiger sharks are as aggressive as they need to be in order to hunt their prey. Tiger sharks are carnivores, which means they have to hunt and kill other wild animals and need to be aggressive hunters in order to survive in the wild.
Are tiger sharks bad?
Tiger sharks are not bad, but because they are sharks and are creatures that many people fear, they are labelled as bad. Tiger sharks are simply wild animals that hunt to eat and survive. The sad part is that tiger sharks are “near threatened“, due to the numbers killed by humans for shark fin soup.
Why do tiger sharks attack humans?
Tiger sharks attack humans normally by mistaken identity, for example a surfer can look like a turtle from below, which is what tiger sharks like to eat. Tiger shark attacks on humans are by accident rather than intentional, as humans are not what they eat.
But as tiger sharks are extremely large and aggressive sharks, so you need to be careful not to provoke an attack.
Is it safe to swim with tiger sharks?
It is mostly safe to swim with tiger sharks when seen on a dive, but if you are at Tiger Beach, you don’t need to swim and should stay knelt on the bottom. But keep your eyes on the tiger sharks when they join the dive, as they have been known to surprise divers from behind.
However, always be aware that tiger sharks are wild creatures with lots of razor sharp teeth, which means they need to be respected at all times. Enjoy watching tiger sharks when you dive with them and do not attempt to touch them.
Also, be aware that if you spearfish when tiger sharks are nearby, they are likely to be alerted to any injured fish. Spearfishing is considered to be a way of provoking shark attacks, and should be avoided when sharks are present, which applies to tiger sharks as it does with other shark species.
In this video, you’ll see a bull shark has had a large bite taken from it by a tiger shark. But also, this spearfisherman is spearfishing with a larger tiger shark nearby, not something I would do.
The most dangerous shark is the one behind you, as can be seen in this shark attack at Elphinstone Reef. Knowing where the sharks are at all times is the only way to prevent an accidental attack.
What do tiger sharks eat?
Tiger sharks are known as the dustbins of the oceans and will eat almost anything that moves, which includes turtles, other smaller sharks, rays, porpoises, marine birds, shellfish, lobsters and shellfish.
Tiger sharks love eating sea turtles, which can be seen from watching the next video. But I don’t advise you watch this video if you are at all sensitive. But if you do watch it, notice how the turtle tilts on its side to avoid being bitten by the tiger shark.
Do tiger sharks like to eat humans?
Tiger sharks don’t necessarily like to eat humans, but given the chance they probably would eat people, as they will eat almost anything. Tiger sharks are one of the most likely sharks to attack humans unprovoked and are considered dangerous sharks, so spearfishing when tiger sharks are nearby is not advisable.
Where is the mostly likely place to be attacked by a tiger shark?
The most likely place to be attacked by tiger sharks is in the surf on a surfboard, as surfers look like turtles from below, which are a favourite meal of tiger sharks.
The other dangerous place to swim where tiger sharks live, is next to sandbars or at the edge of drop-offs, as this is where tiger sharks hunt for prey. If you are swimming near where tiger sharks are hunting, you are more likely to be mistaken for prey, especially if you are swimming at dusk.
Another shark that can be very aggressive and bold is the oceanic whitetip shark. Oceanic whitetip sharks are extremely curious and often when they are around scuba divers they look for openings or weaknesses. Two articles you may like to read about these aggressive sharks include Elphinstone Reef Shark Attack and Brothers Shark Attack: Oceanic Whitetip Shark Attacks Diver.
In this second article, a scuba diver is filmed being attacked by an oceanic whitetip shark. But please be aware that attacks like this are still extremely rare. Included in the article are tips for when diving with sharks and how to stay safe too, plus an explanation about how the diver who was attacked could have avoided the attack.
Before you go, you may be as fascinated as I was when I found out what fish eat sharks. In this article there are three amazing videos of other fish eating sharks whole: What Fish Can Eat Sharks, for me it’s the first video I was most amazed at.
In this final video, you’ll see a turtle being saved from a tiger shark that is attacking it.
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